The Otumfuo Commemorative Gold Coin project on responsible gold mining, is powering Otumfuo’s drive against illegal mining in Ashanti Region.
The Asantehene, His Majesty Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, wants financiers of illegal mining ( galamsey) in the Ashanti Region to be exposed rather than being shielded.
He expresses concern that the real culprits behind galamsey are being protected while the labourers who work for pittances in the illegal mining sites are arrested.
Speaking in his native Asante Twi, the King said it is preposterous for chiefs in the Ashanti Region to pretend they don’t know galamsey is ongoing in their communities, and who the financiers are.
Regrettably, he said, the labourers are arrested and their photographs taken to pretend something good is being done to combat illegal mining.
The King asks whether these labourers have the money to buy the excavators and changfan machines used for galamsey.
“It is somebody who has bought all these expensive equipment. These labourers have no jobs so they take them as casual workers and pay them small amounts of money” Otumfuo said.
Otumfuo also indicated that illegal miners smuggle out the gold denying the government foreign exchange to develop the nation. The gold goes through the airport and nobody sees them.
His Majesty warns that if we don’t rise up and arrest the financiers behind the galamsey, we will not be making much headway in the fight against illegal mining..
Otumfuo reminds chiefs in the Ashanti Region that in the past, people undertook mining but they did it responsibly without destroying the rivers and lands.
“I have told nananom at the Regional House of Chiefs, that it will be naive to say they don’t know anything about the galamsey going on in their areas. If indeed you don’t know anything about it, can’t you also see the pollution of your rivers” the Asantehene said.
Otumfuo pointed out that the financiers of galamsey influence the chiefs by giving them money and gold. His Majesty noted that chiefs, government officials and politicians in general are all complicit in this galamsey menace.
“They buy the excavators, business people buy the excavators” the revered monarch srated.
The King urged aall well meaning Ghanaians to take the fight against galamsey seriously.
“If we don’t take care, our cocoa will be rejected on the international market because it will be contaminated with cyanide. Our gold too could be rejected on the international market because of illegal mining” Otumfuo stated.
Reporting by Wilberforce Asare in Accra